A small resuscitation training company based in Tufnell Park, Camden featured in the last episode of the hit BBC programme Dragons Den. Asking for a £50,000 investment for a 10% stake in the existing business to develop some video training products, on site medical services for the film and TV industry and source a permanent training venue the three founding members of the business went head to head with the multi millionaire investors seeking to secure investment.
The show which was filmed some time ago featured approximately 10 minutes of the trio seeking to convince the fierce dragons to invest. On this episode there were also only 4 dragons as Hillary Devey had been taken ill and had to withdraw. The pitch featured a demonstration of a resuscitation training programme including the use of an automatic defibrillator similar to that which was used at White Hart Lane football ground during the resuscitation of the Bolton footballer Fabrice Maumba. This timely pitch came only weeks after one of the stars Duncan Bannatyne suffered his own medical scare.
The pitch was self assured however the need to edit by the producers meant that the reason for investment was not clear. The millionaire investors seemed confused by recent changes in the company structure and this was the main reason for three of them deciding not to invest on this occasion however Peter Jones during filming did express an interest in obtaining automatic defibrillators for some of his business premises, although this was not aired in the episode.
All three of the entrepreneurs gave steady performances and demonstrated the existing and future value of this Camden business with a national footprint. When Theo Paphitis said “business is simple, people complicate business”, the company’s managing director gave a steady and robust response acknowledging that the business structure could be improved which is one of the reasons for seeking investment and the expertise of the successful dragons in the den. Dr Caroline Howard a substantive A & E consultant in the NHS and the Company’s medical director was both assured and clear as the fact that the three founders brought a wealth of clinical experience and knowledge and were seeking to take the business to the next level and that was one of the added value elements that an investment from a dragon would bring.
Finally with all of the dragons declared out except for the health club and leisure tycoon Duncan Bannatyne it appeared no investment would be secured but at the last minute Duncan offered the full £50,000 but wanted a 32% stake in the already successful business more than 3 times the stake originally offered. This left the three business people to huddle and decide whether they would accept this offer. After a tense few moments it was down to Dr Caroline Howard to reject the offer.
All three of the founding members of the business have since said this was the right decision to make considering that to give that much equity would have effectively handed control of the business they had work hard to build since 2006 to Duncan Bannatyne as the majority shareholder. Whilst disappointing that they had to walk away from both the money and expertise the three are still as determined as ever to continue to grow the business contributing to the local and wider economy. Chris Kurt-Gabel said that he hoped that the exposure on the national media stage would both raise awareness of the business but also more widely continue to ensure that the need for emergency skills training is vital so that more lives can be saved.
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